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need help; Elecrical panel; Double tapping??? per House Inspector

need help; Elecrical panel; Double tapping??? per House Inspector

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  #1  
Old 07-10-12, 09:01 PM
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need help; Elecrical panel; Double tapping??? per House Inspector

Our house is currently under contract. Buyer had an inspection done and he claims there are 3 doubled tapped breakers that need reapir but I don't see understand what he means. See the 2 picture and let me know what you think before we call our own electrician in at our expense... urgh... Can you tell from this picture??? thanks, Tom
 
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  #2  
Old 07-10-12, 09:43 PM
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You need to pull the covers so we can see. If the inspector didn't pull the cover there is no way he could have seen a double tapped breaker. I'd be a bit surprised if a home inspector pulled a cover. To do it safely you need to turn off the main breaker and that is opening a whole can of worms the home inspector is not necessary qualified to deal with. If you open the panels they appear to be subpanels with no main breaker so you will need to find the main breaker wherever that is and turn it off first.
 
  #3  
Old 07-10-12, 10:34 PM
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In addition the HI may not have known that some CH breakers are listed for use with two conductors.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 10:43 PM
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Can you tell from this picture???
No. As Ray said, that can only be determined by removing the cover and seeing how the wires are connected inside. And as PCBoss said, it may be OK if some are double tapped.

I'm guessing that the HI inspector looked at what appear to be notes for more than one load on breakers 15, 16 and 18, and decided to make a note. Makes it look like he's earning his fee. Too bad he didn't (or couldn't) specify the nature of the problem.
 
  #5  
Old 07-11-12, 07:28 AM
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The home inspector brought by the buyer might add a few things known to real estate investors as "weasel clauses" that enable the buyer to back out of the deal and get back his deposit from the broker.

The seller then tries to satisfy the weasel clauses as quickly as possible before the buyer backs out. The seller's attorney (or the seller himself) may try to get the buyer to fish or cut bait more quickly.

However I believe the inspector has to explain to you upon your request the meaning of everything in his report (he may cite chapter and verse numbers of the NEC or IBC without the full text), before telling you to get an electrician, plumber, etc.
.
 
  #6  
Old 07-11-12, 07:55 AM
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Can you post the inspection report?
 
  #7  
Old 07-11-12, 08:00 AM
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This seems to be a common 'problem' brought up by home inspectors. The home inspectors I've worked with have always removed the panel cover as it's one of the places that are easily accessible and you can tell a slew of issues (oversized fuses/breakers, aluminum wiring, old/frayed service entry wires, etc).

The double-tapped breaker usually means that there are two wires under one screw on a breaker. Depending on the manufacturer, some breakers accept only one wire while other breakers accept two wires. The issue is of course when two wires are under a screw rated to only take one.

The thing that makes it annoying, is many inspectors will flag this as an issue as soon as they see two wires under one screw without attempting to determine whether the breaker is rated for two conductors or not.

The solution to the problem is to use a wire nut and a short piece of wire to connect to the breaker. This is code-compliant and allows you to go back to the sellers and report that it's been fixed. The other option is to have an electrician sign off on it... but that'll cost you at least an hour of the electrician's time. But only attempt this if you're comfortable working around electricity. Remember, even with the main breaker off, there are still hot areas in the main breaker panel!
 

Last edited by pcboss; 07-11-12 at 09:09 AM. Reason: changed screws to conductors
  #8  
Old 07-11-12, 08:58 AM
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thanks everone for the replies & comments. The inspection report just simply stated 3 circuits are double-tapped and should be corrected & the report didn't state which breakers. Could he have removed the panel without shutting off main breaker??? When we arrived back home after the inspection, no clocks or cable boxes were blinking like they lost power. And we can't follow-up and ask him, the buyer backed out Monday for some unknown reason. Didn't even share with her agent or attorney why.. But we still want to ensure all is ok for when next buyer (hopefully) comes along & inpects house. Thanks a lot
 
  #9  
Old 07-11-12, 09:12 AM
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The panel cover can be removed without turning the power off, but many would not consider it safe to do so.

As was stated above you may not even have an issue, but an ill-informed inspector. A picture would help to clear this up.
 
  #10  
Old 07-11-12, 09:42 AM
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Could he have removed the panel without shutting off main breaker?
Yes, it's done all the time. We advise everyone to turn off the main breaker, and we do that ourselves, before removing the cover and working inside the panel, for safety reasons. But to inspect the panel - just to look at how the wires are connected - sure.
 
  #11  
Old 07-11-12, 09:47 AM
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A picture would help to clear this up.
That's a picture of the inside of the panel, so you'll have to decide if you're comfortable taking the cover off. If you do, a picture of the entire panel, showing the same area as your first two pictures but taken straight-on, would probably be the most helpful.
 
  #12  
Old 07-12-12, 08:20 AM
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I'll get up enough nerve and take off panel.. My wife is a full-time realtor and says no big deal, just don't touch anything. She stated last night every inspector she has walked around takes the panel off without shutting main breaker off. Also, I'm sure something is double-tapped, I have to believe he didn't make it up. Just hope I don't get ripped off from an electrician for a fix, I hear its fairly simple??? thanks everyone, this forum is great!
 
  #13  
Old 07-12-12, 03:07 PM
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I've never heard of killing main breaker to remove deadfront for residential.
 
  #14  
Old 07-12-12, 03:37 PM
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It should be fairly simple to fix. You should shut down the panel to do the repair. Should only take a few mins and only require a few wirenuts and some short pieces of wire.

Just hope I don't get ripped off from an electrician for a fix
Why would you think you would get ripped off by an electrician? I'm an electrician. Am I not providing a service?
 
  #15  
Old 07-12-12, 04:21 PM
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I've never heard of killing main breaker to remove deadfront for residential.
This forum is aimed at amateurs not pros. We are conservative when it comes to safety. I grew up changing branch circuit breakers with out turning off power but then most of the panels didn't even have main breakers. I was just as surprised as you are about deadfronts when I got reprimanded by the forum for saying you don't need to turn off the main breaker to change a branch circuit breaker, just the branch circuit breaker itself but after having read just how surprisingly uninformed about electricity some people are I understand it is best to be conservative with safety and not make assumptions.
 
  #16  
Old 07-12-12, 09:30 PM
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Just hope I don't get ripped off from an electrician for a fix...
I'm an electrician. Where should I send my invoice for the service I've already provided to you?
 
  #17  
Old 07-13-12, 06:39 PM
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Just hope I don't get ripped off from an electrician for a fix, I hear its fairly simple
If an electrician makes the repair for you, don't you think he should be paid the normal service rate for his time and materials?
 
  #18  
Old 07-30-12, 02:23 PM
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When i say ripped off, I am implying that most of us consumers feel electricians charge big $$ even for small jobs, especially in NY-NJ area.

I did have repair done late last week. He piggy-tailed 3 double-tapped circuits, cleaned up the wiring inside the panel and stapled the feeder wires to the plywood about the panel. Also, cleaned up one illegal outlet in my garage. A outside extension chord was running along inside perimeter of garage to feed an outlet with power. He disconnected that and found a cover that had live wires in the box. He added a new GFCI outlet (i had one extra one) and I threw out the extension chord & outlet it was feeding. Total bill was $150.. yeah or nay??
 
  #19  
Old 07-30-12, 02:26 PM
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That sounds pretty cheap to me, I would have expected higher.

I had a locksmith out at the house last week - $125 and he was there 35 minutes, including the time he spent writing up the bill.
 
  #20  
Old 07-30-12, 04:37 PM
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Some repair people charge almost that much to show up at the door and that is before any repairs are made.
 
  #21  
Old 07-30-12, 05:00 PM
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That doesn't sound bad to me either. I wouldn't really expect anyone to show up for less than $100, especially someone who's licensed, insured, etc. So electrician, plumber, decent carpenter, etc. is going to get what probably works out to over $100/hr. Unfortunately, a lot of that goes to running the business. Those who feel they can charge less probably haven't figured out the costs of running a legit business.

The only time I feel like I got taken advantage of was a plumber who did an hour's worth of work for $500. Granted, I was the dope who pre-agreed to that price based on some cast iron may need to be cut out, etc etc. He was able to do it (correctly) without cutting, so it was quick and easy for him. Ah well, chalk it up to a lesson learned, and I didn't have to crawl around in a tiny crawlspace.
 
  #22  
Old 07-30-12, 08:17 PM
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Total bill was $150.. yeah or nay??
If he is licensed and insured, you got a helluva deal (better than I would have given you!).
 
  #23  
Old 07-30-12, 08:31 PM
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Sounds like more than a fair price to me also.
 
  #24  
Old 07-31-12, 11:56 AM
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yes, fiully licensed and insured and in own business for 20+ years. But we also casually know him since he lives in town. What he did to help us a bit, was half his normal service fee of $95 and then charged us ~ $100 for his 1:15 mins of work. All in all, I'm happy.... for a change. The Extension cord being a live feed for an outlet in my garage near workbench should have been addressed by me several yrs ago, shame on me. Prior owner did it

thx again everyone!
 
  #25  
Old 07-31-12, 01:01 PM
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yes, fiully licensed and insured and in own business for 20+ years. But we also casually know him since he lives in town. What he did to help us a bit, was half his normal service fee of $95 and then charged us ~ $100 for his 1:15 mins of work. All in all, I'm happy.... for a change.
You should be. He did cut you a break, while also not undercutting what he actually needs to make to stay in business. Plus, his work sounds totally on-target.
 
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